Monday, November 20, 2017
101 Ways To Live Better: Be Honest
Welcome to my 101 series, which explores 101 little things you can do to improve your day to day life, and the world, just a little bit.
Our twelfth post is: BE HONEST
None of us like to think of ourselves as liars, however the average person lies, however according to a 2002 study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, 60% of adults can't have a ten-minute conversation without lying at least once. But even that number makes it sound better than it really is; those people in the study who did lie actually told an average of 3 lies during their brief chat. (Source: http://mentalfloss.com/article/30609/60-people-cant-go-10-minutes-without-lying)
However, in most cases, in day to day life, we aren’t lying to be deceptive. We are lying to be polite, or else we are lying because we are scared or want to spare people’s feelings and a white lie will allow things to run smoother. EG: If our best friend asks if we like their new haircut and we think it looks awful, we are scared of making her feel sad with the truth, so we tell a lie.
Maybe we want to avoid a fight, or we feel guilty. The important thing is, we generally lie to avoid a negative consequence, or perhaps more importantly, a negative emotion.
However, it's hard to feel like a trustworthy, honest person if we lie all the time. Even if we ignore those lies, we still know we are telling them. We know we are being dishonest. And its will slowly erode our self-confidence and our self-value.
I’m not advocating being mean. Being honest requires tact and a deep, genuine empathy for other people’s feelings. However, often the results of being honest are not as bad as we think they’re going to be.
Take the friend with the bad haircut. You wouldn’t tell her it looks terrible, that would be cruel. However, telling her it looked good is a lie. Instead, if she seems uncertain, you can say: “It's such a huge change, I think it's going to take a few days for me to get used to it. Do you like it?”
If she’s beaming about it, you can say: “Oh wow! The cut is a bit far out for me, but you look so happy and confident!”
What if your friend asks you if he looks like he has put on weight, and he has? It's better to be honest. I would say: “Yes, but that’s easy fixed. Do you want to go to the beach on Saturday instead of chilling on the couch all day?”
With that answer, you’re being honest, but you’re saying it's not a big problem. You’re even offering to help with the solution.
Of course, the most important person to be honest with is yourself. We lie to ourselves all the time, even though we are in our own heads and we know we are lying. Stop making excuses for yourself. Stop pretending you believe them. If you’re on a diet, don’t tell yourself it's okay ‘just this one time’ to eat half a cake while watching netflix. It's not, you know it's not. Make yourself a healthy snack, do something to keep your hands busy. You’ll feel proud of yourself and your own integrity.
Just like with your friends, be tactfully honest with yourself. Be kind and genuine and loving in your honesty. This isn’t an excuse to beat yourself up, because usually those negative thoughts are lies too.
Soon you’ll begin to learn you are someone you can trust and so will everyone else.